Conservatives Rip Lawmaker for White Men Comment: ‘Needs to be Removed’

Democratic Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley has inspired conservative outrage online over a video clip showing her disapproval of “white men failing up.”

Pressley, among the progressive House Democrats often collectively referred to as “the Squad,” made the remark while addressing allegations of widespread sexual harassment and discrimination at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Wednesday.

The congresswoman said that she is a survivor of sexual violence while grilling FDIC Chair Martin Gruenberg over a report earlier this month alleging that the agency he leads is riddled with sexual misconduct. Pressley mentioned “white men” after questioning why most of the men accused of harassing their female colleagues received no disciplinary measures.

Ayanna Pressley White Men Failing Conservative Outrage
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley is pictured in Washington, D.C., on November 13, 2023. Pressley sparked online conservative outrage on Wednesday over a video clip in which she says she’s “tired of white men failing up.”

Anna Moneymaker

“According to the FDIC’s own reporting, more than 80 percent of harassment complaints resulted in zero discipline,” Pressley said. “And when there were repercussions, not a single one resulted in removal, reductions in grade or pay, or any discipline more serious than a temporary suspension.”

“I am so tired of white men failing up,” she added. This lack of accountability is shameful, inadequate and deeply unsatisfactory, and it is re-traumatizing.”

Conservative outrage and allegations of “racism” erupted after an 11-second video of Pressley’s remarks, clipped in a way that removed all context about the FDIC and the sexual harassment allegations, was shared to the right-wing account “End Wokeness” a short time later on X, formerly Twitter.

“She needs to be removed from Congress! Blatant racism,” self-described MAGA devotee “Gunther Eagleman” wrote in response to the End Wokeness post.

“Racist doing what racists do best,” wrote Juanita Broaddrick, a Republican known for accusing former President Bill Clinton of rape.

“Racist,” the right-wing media personalities known as “the Hodgetwins” wrote.

“I am tired of having racist members of Congress,” wrote conservative podcaster Graham Allen. “Alopecia Ayanna Pressley just said she’s ‘so tired of white men.’ On the floor of Congress. WHAT WAS SHE THINKING?!?!”

“Rep Ayanna Pressley is racist,” popular right-wing account “Libs of TikTok” wrote.

Newsweek reached out for comment to Pressley’s office via email on Wednesday.

During the hearing on Wednesday, Pressley also lashed out at Gruenberg, a Democrat, for creating “an opportunity for Republicans” to “advance their anti-regulation agenda” by using survivors of sexual abuse “as political pawns.”

Republicans have been calling for Gruenberg’s resignation since the report was released on May 7. Democratic lawmakers have largely not been calling for him to step down, despite heavy criticism from Pressley and others.

Gruenberg promised to fix the FDIC’s work culture during the hearing and said that he was “deeply sorry” for his “failures as chairman” but did not indicate that he has any plans to resign.